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Selected Category: Technology

NIOSH Mine Emergency Escape Simulation Technology Available for Developers

Categories: Media, Mining, Technology, Training


Figure 1 – Pre-evacuation tutorial on using the available multigas meter.


All underground coal miners in the United States receive escape training on a quarterly basis. This training prepares them for exiting the mine in the event of an emergency and it must include walking either the primary or the secondary escape route from their work area to the outside (30 CFR, 2015). As a way to both study the mine emergency escape system and to supplement the existing training, NIOSH researchers developed the Mine Emergency Escape Training (or MEET) software. MEET uses a virtual immersive environment to create an underground coal mine escape experience focusing on knowledge of escape procedures while utilizing judgment and decision making skills. While NIOSH uses MEET as a research tool, others can use it in new miner, annual refresher, or emergency response training. MEET is appropriate for underground coal miners at any skill or experience level. NIOSH is offering the MEET software to developers interested in tailoring the training as well as to mine safety and health trainers, safety managers and others who can use it “out-of-the-box” for their training needs.

Wearable Exoskeletons to Reduce Physical Load at Work

Categories: Ergonomics, Manufacturing, Technology


Photo courtesy of SuitX, US Bionics, Inc.

Robotic-like suits which provide powered assist and increase human strength may conjure thoughts of sci-fi and superhero film genres. But these wearable exoskeleton devices are now a reality and the market for their applications in the workplace is projected to increase significantly in the next five years.  As with any technologic innovation some of the pros and cons and barriers to adoption are not completely understood.  In this blog our objectives are to:  (1) describe wearable exoskeletons in the context of workplace safety and health control strategies; (2) highlight current and projected trends related to industrial applications of these technologies; and (3) invite input from our stakeholders on workplace health and safety experiences, positive or negative, with these devices.

A Robot May Not Injure a Worker: Working safely with robots

Categories: Manufacturing, Technology


robotblogRobots are used in increasing numbers in the workplace and in society in general. As their numbers and capabilities increase, observers have urged that scientists, engineers, and policymakers explore the implications of robotics for society, to ensure that the rise of robots will not spell “doom for humanity” as some critics have warned [1].  To avoid this scenario, in 1942 Isaac Asimov set out three laws of robotics in his short story “Runaround”. The first law of robotics centered on the safety of people states: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” How well has this law been applied to worker safety as robots take on more tasks in the 21st century workplace and become robot workers? Judging from continuing headlines about workers injured or killed by robots, not sufficiently.

NIOSH Travel Health and Safety Resource Kit for Workers with International Assignments

Categories: Communication, International, Technology

Travel Internationally for Work? Tell us what you think.

Ever looked at international travel resources on the web? There are an incredible number. Most are intended for leisure travel and not for work-related travel, and most are overwhelming in detail. In addition to the many logistics involved in making foreign travel a pleasant and successful experience, there are many considerations critical to decisions about where, when, and how to make work-related travel a safe and healthy experience, minimizing occupational risks for stress, fatigue, and potential threats to personal safety and health in unfamiliar surroundings.

Large companies and organizations manage the needs of their workers who travel internationally with in-house human resource professionals or contracted travel services. Small to midsized companies typically don’t have those resources and are often left on their own to navigate the vast web of information. That may mean a considerable investment of time, trial and error in finding or tailoring the information that the organization and the business traveler need specifically for planning safe and healthy travel. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been developing a Travel Health and Safety Resource Kit for Workers with International Assignments specifically to fill this gap. Before we complete our work, we want your feedback on what we’re developing and anything you think we may be missing or would make the kit more valuable to you and your employer.

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